SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
The 11th ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) Caucus held on Friday was a resounding success as ASEAN Member Parliaments outlined common areas of cooperation that require legislative actions to boost the post-pandemic economic recovery of the region.
Hosted by the House of Representatives led by Speaker Alan Peter "Compañero" Cayetano, the successful 11th AIPA Caucus was capped by the virtual signing of the 11th AIPA Caucus Working Group Report, which summarized the deliberations as well as the presentations of each Member Parliament of its country’s legislative response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 11th AIPA Caucus had as its theme "Heal as One: Parliamentary Cooperation towards Mitigating Risks and Strengthening Economic Resilience in the Period of Pandemic.”
Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairperson Rep. Ann Hofer (2nd District, Zamboanga Sibugay), the Chairperson of the 11th AIPA Caucus Working Group, recognized the favorable outcome of the Caucus despite the limitations brought about by the pandemic to the Member Parliaments. She was delighted with the free flow of information exchanges and valuable insights among the delegates.
The Working Group Session allowed Member Parliaments the opportunity to tackle each of the country’s initiatives geared towards mitigating risks and strengthening economic resilience in the period of pandemic. “Overall, our fellow parliamentarians share the same optimism about the region’s outlook. In spite of the inevitable economic setbacks, the region is poised to bounce back from the challenges brought by this pandemic. We heard some good ideas to mitigate risks and enhance the region’s economic resilience to future crises,” Hofer said.
Rep. Jesus Suntay (4th District, Quezon City), the Secretary of the 11th AIPA Caucus Working Group, likewise lauded the opportunity for AIPA Member Parliaments to conduct a productive dialogue on best practices and legislative action to cushion the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. “There are common problems that each country faces. Now, through the exchanges and communications that we have with other AIPA Member Countries, we can have a reasonable approach in terms of addressing certain common issues,” Suntay said.
"COVID-19 brought about not only health issues. It also brought about economic instability within all the countries. So how are they addressing these problems? So that ‘yung success nila could also be replicated in other countries,” Suntay said.
In his closing address, Deputy Speaker Raneo Abu, the appointed 11th AIPA Caucus Chairperson, expressed gratitude to the delegates for their fruitful work throughout the caucus, making great strides towards meaningful achievement and progress, especially in the areas of ensuring the free flow of essential supplies amid COVID-19 as well as in strengthening regional trade and economies to prepare for future public health emergencies.
“Our unity in diversity has elevated this dynamic region to unprecedented economic advancement, peace, and security. This has always been the strength of ASEAN and AIPA. We shall continue our cooperation towards resolving our region’s most pressing issues, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the necessary rebound that follows, and other issues in the areas of trade and security that we have temporarily put in the backseat to focus on this current emergency,” Abu said.
For his part, Committee on Accounts Chairperson and Head of the Philippine Delegation, Rep. Abraham Tolentino (8th District, Cavite) stressed the country’s continued commitment to further aid in the development of the region. “The Congress of the Philippines will continue to implement the resolutions adopted by AIPA during its general assemblies. We fervently hope that, as parliamentarians, we can continue to contribute significantly through inter-parliamentary cooperations in the attainment of the goals and aspirations of AIPA and the ASEAN,” Tolentino said.
Finally, Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo (2nd District, Marikina City), presenter of the Philippines Country Report for the Caucus Working Group, underscored the necessity of data-driven and evidence-based policy and legislation in the face of crises. “Policies need to be proactive, supported by comprehensive planning and regular assessment of the situation, and guided by research and data,” Quimbo said.